Bada Bing, Bada Boom: 21 Years After The Fact, Here’s A Look At The Best Dallas Locations For Recreating All Your ‘Sopranos’ Fantasies.
Widely heralded as one of the most groundbreaking television series of all time, The Sopranos is praised for its writing, direction, acting and technical merit.
It’s also a masterpiece in terms of complex representation of Italian-American culture. The Sopranos grapples with the reality of the American Mafia without fully glorifying the Italian-as-Mafia stereotype — which is why it is embarrassing to admit it was only recently that this Italian-American author had the opportunity to watch the series through for the first time.
Bingeing The Sopranos during a pandemic has been unlike previous television binges for me. The decline of all social activity has meant that time between hour-long episodes is not filled with friends and family — but instead with long walks and scenic drives.
This isolated mix has precipitated a certain convergence of reality and fiction for me. Suddenly, parallels between the locations on the screen and my environment in Dallas are everywhere I look. A hike along the Trinity River now brings up images of made-guys meeting up for a clandestine chat. A drive by Jimmy’s Food Store recalls Tony and the crew getting down to business over espresso and cured meats.
Perhaps this is an effect of bingeing on prestige television and gabagool. More likely, it’s a coping mechanism for boredom. At any rate, it’s something that this author can no longer keep to himself.
It’s like author Arundhati Roy said: “The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There’s no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
So, here I am, presenting you all with the 20 top places in Dallas where you can feel like you’re living out a scene from The Sopranos.
Because we all need a few private places to discuss this thing of ours.
Members of the Soprano family often meet outside authentic Italian delis and butchers across the Tri-State area. What Dallas lacks in quantity here, it compensates with quality. Jimmy’s Food Store is every made-guy’s dream: This spot scores with cheap espresso and wine, fresh deli meats and a wide variety of imported Italian goods.
Don’t be confused by the signage. This particular Egyptian lounge does not specialize in North African cuisine. Instead, it’s one of several Dallas locations of Campisi’s — a restaurant chain that has cashed in on its founder’s purported connections to organized crime. See, Joseph “Egyptian Joe” Campisi was the alleged boss of the Dallas crime family from 1973 until 1990. Basically, this is about as close as you’re going to get to experiencing the old-school mob atmosphere seen in restaurants throughout The Sopranos.
Made-guys are often seen sipping on espresso outside of small Italian cafes. One such location in The Sopranos? A spot called the Caffe Palermo. The closest experience to that in Dallas is the similarly named Palmieri Cafe, which serves up authentic Italian style espresso drinks and pastries.
One of the only places in town that specializes in Italian cured meats. What more do we need to say?
An authentic Italian eatery in a historic building in Bishop Arts. Honestly, Vesuvio wishes.
This tiny Italian eatery in Bishop Arts resembles Lodi Pizza, a roadside Italian spot Tony and his crew stop by for a bite.
There are so many pizza joints in Dallas, but Dante’s resembles one of the most seen pizzerias in The Sopranos — the Ooh-Fa.
Formerly housed in Addison, the Italian Club of Dallas now operates out of other restaurants after the closure of its physical location. The club has put meetings on hiatus since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, but when it’s back in action, you can get back to enjoying their regular happy hours and family style meals.
In several episodes, Tony and the guys can be seen walking along a waterfront to talk business. Sure, Dallas may be far from the coast — but you can still take a walk with your associates and brood over a body of water near the White Rock Lake Dam & Pump Station.
Every made-guy should have a boat, just like Tony. While White Rock Boat Club may not have slips big enough for yachts, remember: What happens on the boat is your business.
A great place to get away from it all after you take care of some business on your yacht, The Stugots.
In The Sopranos, the guys often meet up in places with scenic skyline views. Pop on over to the Trinity Overlook park to get a similar experience.
Another spot along the Trinity that offers a great view of Downtown — and enough privacy for a nice conversation with a crooked detective.
All we’re saying is that this spot looks a lot like the place where they buried a body in the Meadowlands.
In the “Pine Barrens” episode of The Sopranos, two of the guys go out to a New Jersey forest to finish a bit of dirty business. Things go awry, some shots are fired and they end up lost in the forest for the night. Spend some time looking around the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve, and you’ll see that folks have fired off a few rounds at the map and trail markers over the years. It’s also fairly easy to get lost in the winding forest trails. Have fun!
If the spots along the Trinity and White Rock are bit too crowded, head over to William James Blair Jr. Park, which offers a less stunning view but a bit more privacy.
The sound of running water helps cover up whatever you may be talking about — y’know in the event someone is listening in. Capisce?
A big theme in The Sopranos is economic decline and decay. A lesser theme is an affection for baseball fields. Here, you can pull up behind the field and hop in your associate’s car while you admire the dilapidated state of our public infrastructure.
Of course, the horse track is on this list. You kiddin’?
Tony and his crew love them some golf — and they typically sticks to public courses. So, no, you don’t have to be a country club member to get a similar experience.
Optional: Your Therapist’s Office
I don’t know where yours is, but maybe you could talk to them about what’s stressing you out — be it coronavirus, your family, waste management, whatever.